Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Some Pet Peeves, or, The Curse Of Being Literate

Irritatingly Common Grammar Mistakes:

1) LEARN the difference between less than and fewer. I see and hear this mistake ALL THE TIME. I very frequently hear or read this mistake committed by mainstream, professional publishing organizations that should really know better. Isn't knowledge of proper grammar part of an editor's job?

As written here:
The opinion of a professional translator... Oct 15, 2006

A lot of crap is becoming 'acceptable' in informal/colloquial English. Although I personally would not bother to correct anyone on this point, I personally firmly hold to a very simple rule: if you can count it, it's "fewer," if you can't, it's "less."


Anything else is simply poor English, regardless of who says it.

I couldn't have said it any better.

2) As seen in an email sent to me from Sirius Satellite Radio, a very large company, with a LOT of money that could be used to hire a grammarian or two:

Listen Now: Hear Jon Bon Jovi's recent visit, including why they collaborated with Leann Rimes.

Why who collaborated with Leann? Jon Bon Jovi? Then why use the word 'they'? Or maybe the writer meant Jon Bon Jovi's band, in which case that should have been made clear.

I see mistakes like this nearly every day on mainstream websites, in magazines like Newsweek, on local television news programs, etc.... Admittedly I'm probably just a nerdy crank and shouldn't let such trivial things bother me, but if the mainstream press doesn't care to use proper grammar, how can we expect anybody else to even know what's correct and what isn't?

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